Thursday, July 7, 2011

House Appropriations Subcommittee approves Interior and Environment Spending Bill

This morning (July 7) the House Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee approved a Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment spending bill that would deeply cut funding for EPA and Department of Interior programs (see a full description of the bill here).  The bill was approved on a strictly party-line vote.  No amendments were offered by any Subcommittee member during the mark-up session, although Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA-8) noted after the session that he expects "there will be one major overriding amendment and then probably some smaller specific" amendments during the full Appropriations Committee mark-up of the bill, adding, "I think it's going to be a long, drawn-out full committee process."  The full House Appropriation Committee markup of the  spending bill has been scheduled for July 12.

One of more than 24 controversial riders attached to the bill that is sure to be debated during the full Appropriations Committee meeting is one that would block EPA from using any funds "to carry out, implement, administer, or enforce"  changes to Clean Water Act jurisdiction put into place since the last guidance on the matter  (issued during the George W. Bush administration).  On June 15 the full House Appropriations Committee approved a Fiscal Year 2012, $30.6 billion energy and water spending bill that contained a similar rider blocking funding for Army Corps of Engineers' implementation of a new Obama administration policy aimed at better-defining Clean Water Act protections over wetlands and streams.

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